For the first time in the history between the Phillies and Mets, the two clubs have played three consecutive extra-inning games against each other. Friday and Saturday’s affairs each went 14 innings with the Phillies winning the former 6-5 and the Mets winning the latter 5-4. Sunday’s game was knotted at two apiece through 10 innings, but an 11th-inning Lucas Duda two-run home run helped the Mets escape with a 4-3 victory.
The last time the Phillies played three consecutive extra inning games against one team was July 13-14 last season. The Phillies split a doubleheader on the 13th, winning the first half in 11 innings and losing the second half in 13, then winning in 10 innings the following day. The Mets played three consecutive extra-inning affairs against the Astros between July 31 and August 2. All three went ten innings; the Mets lost the first game 3-2, won the second 8-2, and lost the third 4-3.
Adding yet more intrigue, the series was initially scheduled to be a four-game set with both teams getting an off-day after Sunday’s finale, but because a game between the Mets and Phillies was rained out on April 30, they will play a fifth consecutive game on Monday. If Monday’s game goes nine regulation innings, the two clubs will have played 57 consecutive innings against each other.
Jayson Stark, eat your heart out.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.
Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.
There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.
Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.